Friday Rant Club

Yet another compendium of lesser rants to send you off into a merry weekend…

Katie’s Got a Job

So Katie Couric is moving from NBC to CBS. Why does anyone care? It’s just a talking head job. Big deal! Anyone with a bit of charm and an overly clean set of choppers could do the job just as well. Sure, she’s making “television history” by being the first woman to hold that job, but are we still living in a time when every little milestone of equality needs to be touted like it’s a revolution?

to hell with the poorAnd what’s that pay rate? She’s reportedly making $65 million in a five-year contract. That’s $13 million dollars a year just to read a daily mash of infotainment that some people still think is “the news.”

Katie, surely you could live on something reasonable like maybe $2 million. If you were really committed to the news you would give back that other $11 million a year and insist they use it to hire a bunch of actual journalists and send them out into the world. You’d also insist they use some of that money to hire good editors, and producers who have a sense of news as information, not entertainment. Or maybe working for a reasonable salary would lessen the network’s reliance on advertising and product placement, allowing you and your team to actually bring us the news. But that assumption, of course, is based on the incorrect notion that the advertising is there to support the news, when in fact the news is simply a device for delivering advertising.

[Update: I should be clear; I would be just as annoyed over Couric’s salary if she were a man. Gender has nothing to do with this, as far as I’m concerned. That’s not to say that all equality milestones shouldn’t be noted. For example, someday there will be a female President of the U.S., and that will be worth noting — because that is an important job. But what is so important about being the anchor of a network news show? It’s important to the network’s shareholders, but it’s not important to you or to me. What really bugs me is the way that positions such as this are elevated into the realm of importance when really they aren’t. Or if they are, they shouldn’t be. What kind of society do we have if we are profoundly influenced by a newsreader? Network news anchors are only important because the networks tell us they are, and we beleive it. If you ask me (and I know you’re asking me) the journalist out in the field risking his or her ass in a war zone or a riot, or the producers who make good decisions, are far more important than the toothy-grinned face who just reads the news and attracts eyeballs for the advertisers.]

We Need an Apocalypse For Stupid People

After all, it would get rid of the some of the insanely stupid people we read about every day, such as these guys. That’s a link to a story about a taxi driver who alerted the police because a guy he had dropped off at the Durham Tees Valley Airport had been playing songs by The Clash and Led Zepplin during his ride to the airport. Apparently the songs contained lyrics that might, if you smoke enough dope, sound like calls for terrorism. The best (worst) part of the story is that the police deemed this significant enough to pull the guy off the plane.

Oh, by the way, in case you’re wondering where the Durham Tees Valley Airport is, you won’t find out by reading the article. Nor will you find out by going to the Durham Tees Valley Airport Web site. Even their “Location” and “Contact Us” pages doesn’t actually tell you their location other than that it’s probably in the U.K. somewhere. Fortunately, Wikipedia comes to the rescue again.

Enough With the Legs

Sharon Stone is apparently annoyed that Basic Instinct 2 isn’t doing so well at the box office. I count myself among the apparent many who have no desire to see the movie. While I don’t like to judge a book by its cover — or in this case a movie by its advertising — I find it highly annoying that the publicity for Basic Instinct 2 focuses so much on Sharon Stone’s crossed legs; presumably on the assumption that it will remind us of her famous uncrossed legs, as seen in the original Basic Instinct.

A few years ago, Stone was complaining about how she felt exploited because of that famous leg-uncrossing scene. Now she seems to embrace it, riding the wave of the promise of more crotch shots. In fact, she wants to direct the third installation.

how original

But what really bugs me is the lack of imagination shown by putting so much focus on the obvious. Just about every publicity still is centered on the legs in a manner that draws attention to the anticipation of more views up the skirt. How boring. Maybe if I were 15 years old, but hey, this is 2006. What 15-year old is going to pay $13 to get a half-second glimpse up the skirt of a woman old enough to be his mother? What adult, in this age of ubiquitous free Internet and television booty, is tantalized by overplayed, ham-fisted teasers that promise to deliver only the quickest glimpse, and then only maybe.

No. Tantalize us with the promise of a good story, or of strong and daring characters. Then show us the crotch and we’ll all be really impressed. But don’t just wave the legs in our faces and expect us to lap it up like gullible kittens.

So there. Have a nice weekend!

12 thoughts on “Friday Rant Club

  1. Totally agree about Basic Instinct 2. When I saw the first one I was about 15, and really impressed. Nowadays, I have NO interest whatsoever to see Sharon’s “c…”. From the trailers I have no idea what this movie is about, besides displays of nudity. She does look good for a 50 year old woman, but no way in hell 13 dollars good.

    I think I am gonna see a better sequel. “Ice Age 2”

  2. I’d have to say that I disagree about your point on not needing to recognize the ‘milestone’ thing of the first female ‘single’ news anchor in the US.

    I think it is important. Especially when you consider that in the States, women probably have not previously held this position as they weren’t connsidered ‘heavyweights’ or ‘serious enough’ etc. Which of course is completely ridiculous. Watching BBC & CNN Europe here in Italy, you realise that all over the other parts of the world there are many more female news women / anchors. Leave it to the US to take forever to catch up.

    So, I think it’s an accomplishment for whatever woman breaks that barrier. Now, I would have been much happier if it was Soledad O’Brien. Clearly I have missed the entire time when Katie was apparently a ‘serious newswoman’ and ‘tenacious reporter’.

    That being said,Katie is the first one who managed to break through that barrier first. And that, I think, calls for Kudos.

    But hey, maybe the newspapers are just trying to get everyone’s minds off gas prices….

  3. The Milliner: I just said the exact same thing to Blork. It’s a symbol (a woman finally getting the job) but I think it counts, ultimately.

  4. C’est intéressant ta réflexion sur le nombre de journalistes à engager pour une partie du salaire de Mme Kouric. Mais n’est-ce pas le public qui est à l’origine de tout cela en faisant du lecteur une star qui veut être rémunéré en conséquence. À voir ce qui c’est passé au Québec à la suite de la ”retraite” de Stéphan Bureau, la discussion ne portait pas sur le contenu…

  5. Well, I suppose you’re right that every big milestone is worth noting. On the other hand, the milliner has pointed out that in Europe and the UK there have been women in key news positions for a long time. So in fact, Couric’s job is not a big achievement for women as a whole, it’s just a big achievement for US network women.

    It is not something new; it’s only new in US network news. I reject the idea that something is only deemed signficant when it happens in the US, so I reject that this is presented as a big milestone. It isn’t a big milestone! It’s been done already, plenty of times elsewhere!

    Finally, what really bugs me about all the media coverage around this story is that it seems to be far more about celebrity worship than about news or any kind of milestone for women.

  6. … it’s just a big achievement for US network women.

    I’m surprised that you’re taking this stance. While it’s great that this isn’t a huge milestone for Canadians, that doesn’t discount it when it happens elsewhere. The same goes for other issues such as peace. Canada is a peaceful country but that doesn’t mean we should all yawn when a war-torn country finally finds peace.

    You’re obviously entitled to your opinions but I’m really surprised by them is all.

    As for Sharon and her legs. Well, not only are they gorgeous and well worth showing off, it’s a major aspect for her character. Her not being sexy would like Hannibal Lecter not being intimidating. It’s at the core of what her character does in order to lure her victim in. So, I think it’s actually relevant to show her this way rather than in a turtleneck sweater, glasses, and slacks.

  7. OK, let’s put this in perspective. This is a Friday rant, that’s all. I don’t mean to discount any milestones in feminism, I’m just annoyed that this story is made out to be bigger than it is — and the milestone aspect is really not what people are playing up. This is mostly just celebrity worship. THAT’s what bugs me. All this celebrity worship, as if her getting this job were the most important story of the week.

    As for Sharon Stone’s legs; yeah, they’re great. But that publicity isn’t sexy, it’s pandering.

  8. I don’t know, Martine. Sometimes I feel like such touting is actually detrimental to the female condition, as if they’re saying “Wow, she got that job! DESPITE being a woman!” I know they’re saying she’s overcome adversity/prejudice, but it’s not far from there to think she’s overcome some shortcomings in her own makeup. IMO it’s almost better to leave the milestone unsung. That, to me, sends the message “Well, why shouldn’t she get it?”

  9. Years ago, way before 9/11, Ringo Starr in his jet-setting days, was traveling first class as usual, looking like, well Ringo Starr.

    The very proper “suit” he was sitting next to alerted the steward thinking that there was a terrorist on the plane.

    True story…

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